Darkborn by Alison Sinclair
A 2009 book, didn't make it onto my Hugo short. Pretty good though. In reading this I was reminded a lot of two prior books I'd read in the past year: Mieville's the City, because Darkborn also featured a city ontologically divided, each half of the population living close by yet rigidly separated from the other half. This is given a much more conventional fantasy premise here than with Mieville: society has the Lightborn unable to survive without light, and the Darkborn unable to survive in light. In the setup some hybrid children are born, and the intrigue surrounding this is launched. The second book was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, insofar as much of the story is based off Darkborn etiquette, court interactions and the like. All this is competently done, although the fantasy tropes are a bit familiar and predictable. Where the story moves up several notches is in its excellent primary characters, and the depiction of their relationship. A well formed story, and I'll be curious in what else Sinclair does in this universe (sequel for next year called Lightborn) and beyond it.
Worse than: The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
Better than: Fire by Kristin Cashore